Palisades from the West

The Palisades contain some of the most majestic and rugged terrain anywhere in the Sierra.


At the heart of this region is a ridgeline containing five peaks above 14,000’/4267m:  Mt. Sill, Polemonium Peak, North Palisade Peak, Starlight, and Thunderbolt Peak.  During this 5-day trip we will attempt to climb all of them.  During the summer months, the standard routes from the west require rock climbing mostly at a 3rd class level with a few occasional 4th class moves.  On some of the routes we traverse the Palisade Crest between the peaks where the terrain requires scrambling, down climbing, and rock climbing with sometimes considerable exposure.  Team members are roped up on all terrain containing potential for a fall.  Starlight and Thunderbolt contain “summit blocks” with rock climbing difficulty ratings of 5.7 and 5.8, respectively.  The rock is high quality granite, the climbing is fun and exhilarating, and the views are considered by many to be the finest anywhere in the Sierra!


Mt. Sill: 14162’/4316m
Polemonium Peak: 14080’/3682m
North Palisade Peak: 14242’/4341m
Starlight Peak: 14200’/3780m
Thunderbolt Peak: 14003’/4268m

Length of trip

4 Days

Difficulty rating

Class 3-4, with 5.7/5.8 grades on the summits of Starlight and Thunderbolt Peak respectively


$1960 guided 1:1
$1120 guided 2:1


Anytime between June and October. Book using the button below or contact our office.


The group meets at SMI office in Bishop on the morning of the first day of the trip.  After some introductions and equipment checks we will divide group loads and finish packing our packs.  We drive to the South Lake parking lot and hike the Bishop Pass trail.   Our goal is to go over Bishop Pass and establish our camp at Palisade Basin.  Days 2-4 will be spent climbing the peaks.  The itinerary will vary depending on group preferences.  The final day is devoted to hiking back over Bishop Pass and descending to the parking lot.  We are usually back by mid afternoon.